Beat Down to Your Soul: What Was the Beat Generation?
by Ann Charters
In this wide-ranging anthology, Beat scholar Ann Charters brings together more than seventy-five essays, reviews, memoirs, poems, and sketches that evoke the credos and the controversies surrounding the Beat generation writers of the 1950s. Charters includes discussions of all the major Beat figures-Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, Diane di Pr...more
Paperback, 704 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Penguin Books
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A series of readings listed alphabetically. Orlovsky on Charlie Chaplin and Trilling on Ginsberg are must reads. Buckley is sorta funny, Burroughs okay, Ginsberg inspiring, Kazin perceptive and stimulating. Brustein's slam creates a fascinating context (he sees Brando as a Beat). Joyce Johnson is really fun, Joyce Carol Oates balanced, Snyder plainspoken but effective, Stone condescending (Kerouac's no Melville but who the hell is!!!). Charters is honest and Tallman builds to an energetic three...more
If you are in any way interested in Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, and Ken Kesey and what they actually had to say about the "beat" scene, I highly recommend this book (and Jack's Book by Gifford). This book will probably turn you onto other lesser known writers and poets, as well.